How much water do athletes really need to drink per day?

We all need water to survive, and it’s pretty much the most essential thing for all human life to survive. Well, that and oxygen. The average person often doesn’t drink enough water per day, but what about athletes? They sweat a lot more than most people, so how much water do they need to drink per day?

Staying well hydrated

Pretty much everyone who has ever been advised by an expert on a fitness regime will have been told the same thing. “Make sure you stay hydrated.” It’s pretty good advice and does help you to maintain a certain level of performance. The advice applies to everyone doing exercise, not just professional athletes, but it can be hard to know how much is enough.

If you take the recommended water intake from the National Academy of Medicine, then women should consume 91 ounces and men 125. That might seem like a lot, but the organization recommends that around 20 percent of that figure should come from your food. That still leave women needing approximately 73 ounces and men needing 100 ounces per day.

Exercise only increases the need for water

It won’t surprise you to learn that if you do any kind of exercise during the day, you’re going to need to drink even more than the recommended amount. We lose water when exercising mostly in the form of fluid, also known as sweat.

Athletes might feel thirsty when working out, but experts believe that sports people who only drink when thirsty aren’t getting enough. They estimate that only around two-thirds of what an athlete loses through sweating can be replaced by drinking until they are no longer thirsty. That leaves a water deficit.

How much is enough?

Very Well Fit have taken a scientific approach to determine how much water athletes need depending on the level of exercise they do. They believe if an athlete is only doing low levels of activity that day, they should drink 0.5 times their body weight in ounces, when weighing yourself in pounds.

For the days where they perform at a high level, they recommend they take in 1 times their body weight in fluid ounces. So if an athlete weighs 200 pounds, they should be drinking 200 ounces on days where they workout a lot.

When should you drink?

So if athletes need to stay hydrated as best as possible, when is the best time for them to drink? On days they are training they will need to get through a lot of water, so they need t space it out throughout. Two hours before they do any exercise, athletes should aim to drink around 24 ounces and then squeeze in another eight ounces 30 minutes before working out.

It’s time to step on the scales right before working out as you’ll need to know how much weight has been lost after exercise. For every fifteen minutes of exercise completed, athletes should consume another eight ounces of water. Once the sweating has stopped, it’s time to step on the scales once more.

For every pound of weight they lost from your pre-workout weight, they should drink between 16 and 24 ounces of water. So if they lost three pounds after their workout, they need to drink at least 48 ounces and up to 72 ounces.

Drinking water is a vital part of life, especially for top athletes. They have to consume much more than most of us because they tend to lose so much through their exercise. As for the rest of us, we should drink at least our own bodyweight in ounces when measured in pounds.